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When You Were Here - Daisy Whitney This book has been on my ‘Currently Reading Shelf’ for the past four days now. Don’t let that fool you… it only took me half this night to get through it. Life just got in the way, you now? Anyway, this book's left me feeling satisfied… and happy with how refreshingly different it read. Danny is not the complete asshole I though he was. It’s clear that one loss then another will have anyone acting like one. There’s this bitterness to him and a load on his shoulders from how somehow some when someone has wronged him either in a big way, small way, or even in some unknown way. But read on a bit more, it’s heart breaking… every single loss he’s experienced: first the dad, then the sister, then the mother, and then the girlfriend. It’s the loss of his mother that breaks him, but that’s our starting point with him. He is the lost, angry boy, trying to figure out his what-next and not managing to do that at all. Except there’s also the loss of the girlfriend that surprised me a little, him droning on and on as he did over this girl next door and why-why-whying their situation made him less the tragic figure and more just the ordinary guy. It’s that he is so ordinary that’s refreshing. Neither jock nor the nerd, he’s simply a guy… a guy who’s unsure about what’s to be done next. And what’s next? Apparently, Japan.. where things have him piecing things together and seeing things for what they really are. It takes this spur of the moment choice for things to sink in for him; that his mother had decisions, that his sister did as well, and so did Holland for that matter. All the things he discovers plus all the things revealed to him made it clear that things were always happening even with him outside the picture. Then eventual admissions of wrongs, recognition of limits and wanting things done a certain way by one’s choosing… all those had me picturing strong women. That while this guy’s many many heartbreaks… could be taken as something else by another. That the there were dark things for his sister, there were choices for his mother, and there were missed opportunities for his girl next door. My. Point? He was the only one getting his heart broken. And though he’s not the center of it all, he’s what’s there linking them all. It’s through him we see his heartbreak is not just his.Also, who else besides me loves odd ball characters? Kama should read odd ball, trying too hard… but became more than that. Perhaps it’s her personal drama of not fitting in and not trying to that did it. Or perhaps it’s the two of them finding each other and connecting in a non romantic but still profound way that worked for me. Or perhaps it’s her odd-but-right-feeling mix of old soul-not quite that did it? Excellent read, this one…